Cape Town - Chiefs produced an epic defensive effort to keep alive their slim
finals hopes with a hard-fought win over Reds in
Hamilton on Friday.
As it happened: Chiefs v Reds
The Chiefs won 19-13 after leading 19-6 at half-time.
The New Zealanders scored three tries to one despite being outplayed
for most of the match and failing to notch a point in the second half.
They made 242 tackles to 85 as the Reds dominated possession but failed to find a way through.
"Man, that was an immense effort to hold the Reds out, they were outstanding in the second half," captain Brad Weber said.
"We were probably our own worst enemy, giving away a ton of penalties and couldn't get out of our own half."
The win takes the Chiefs above Blues in the New Zealand
conference and makes a spot in the finals a mathematical possibility,
although most teams in contention have a game in hand on them and
results would need to go their way.
The result dents the Reds' finals prospects and skipper Izack Rodda admitted it was frustrating.
"The last five minutes we were on their line and just going and
going, credit to the Chiefs for holding us out, it was an amazing
effort," he said.
The Reds almost scored in the opening minutes, working the ball
through 19 phases, only for Angus Scott Young's lunge at the line to be
ruled a double movement.
Etene Nanai-Seturo then had a try disallowed at the other end when
the replays showed the Chiefs winger knocked on before grounding the
Chiefs loose forward Pita Sowakula made no mistake in the ninth minute, beating three defenders to cross for a converted try.
Prop Atu Moli extended the home team's lead after a patient build-up,
then Nanai-Seturo scored their third try just before the break to make
Adding to the Reds' woes, the Queenslanders had another try disallowed, again for a double movement.
A Taniela Tupou try after the restart reduced the Chiefs' buffer to
six points and they laid siege to the tryline but could not find a way
Next week the Chiefs host the Crusaders at the ANZ National Stadium in Fiji while the Reds are back in Australia to face the Jaguares in Brisbane.
Tries: Pita Sowakula, Atunaisa Moli, Etene Nanai-Seturo
Conversions: Marty McKenzie (2)
Try: Taniela Tupou
Conversion: Bryce Hegarty
Penalties: Hegarty (2)
15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Sam Cane (captain), 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Jesse Parete, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli
Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Daymon Leasuasu, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Sean Wainui
15 Matt McGahan, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Seb Wileman, 12 Duncan Paia'aua, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Angus Scott-Young, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Harry Hoopert
Substitutes: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Feao Fotuaika, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Adam Korczyk, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Scott Malolua, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Liam McNamara